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How to Cook Kale

Kale Glossary

A quick overview of the most common types of kale

Green Kale: With vibrant green wrinkly leaves, this is the most common kale found in grocery stores, and you can add it to just about anything!

Red Kale: Similar in texture and flavor to leafy green kale, red varieties — which are actually more purple — add a splash of exotic color, whether raw or cooked.

Tuscan Kale: Discovered in Italy in the 19th century, Tuscan kale (also called dinosaur kale or lacinato kale) has deep green, smooth stems and a rugged, wrinkly texture. It’s great for braising or sauteing and it’s terrific finely shredded and tossed into stir-fries.

Ornamental Kale: Also known as salad savoy, ornamental kale — often green, purple, pink or white — is popular in flower gardens and makes a great garnish. But it’s edible too, as long as it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides. It’s best harvested when still small and tender.

 

More Kale Cooking Tips

  • Blend a few chopped-up young kale leaves — but not the stems or very thick leaves — into fruit smoothies. It’s a great way to sneak greens into the diets of the veggie-averse, especially kids.
  • Add kale to breakfast egg dishes. Try an omelet with par-cooked potatoes, caramelized onions and steamed kale — or a scramble made with tomatoes, bell peppers, green onion and kale sprinkled with feta cheese.
  • Whip up a quick summer kale saute with garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and basil. Saute kale with small amounts of bacon for flavor, then lightly braise it in vegetable stock to soften. Great with roasted turkey, meatloaf or grilled tofu.
  • Chop, cook and mix kale with grains to add nutrients and flavor to dishes like barley risotto or rice pilaf.
  • Kale is wonderful in miso soup or tossed with rice noodles.
  • Kale’s earthy flavor pairs well with hearty meats, beans and sausages. I particularly like kale with braised pork. I often substitute sauteed kale for cooked spinach in spanakopita, on pizza, or layered with ricotta cheese in calzone.
  • Blanched and frozen kale is great to have on hand. If you gently break it in the bag, it can be easily added to simmering marinara sauce, soups, stews and beans.

Kale, Mushroom and Cream Cheese Scramble

Conscious Cuisine

Sauteed, steamed or braised kale (especially refrigerated leftovers) is an easy and delectable addition to your breakfast eggs — or just about any other meal.

Serves one:

1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup julienned kale
1/4 cup diced fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 tbs. finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup small diced tomatoes
2 eggs, lightly whipped
1 tbs. milk
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add vegetables and saute until they begin to sweat, about five minutes.

2. Whip the eggs with the milk and season with salt and pepper. Slowly pour into the pan with vegetables. With a heat-resistant spatula, gently push one edge of the egg into the center of the pan, while tilting the pan to allow the uncooked egg to flow in underneath. Repeat with the other edges, until there’s no liquid left.

3. Turn off the heat and add the cream cheese, gently stirring and turning the egg until all the uncooked parts become firm. Place on plate and serve with fresh fruit.

Read more: Food, Health

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Megan, selected from Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.

75 comments

+ add your own
12:51PM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

thank you

2:18PM PST on Nov 22, 2013

I absolutely love kale. I love in a rural area and so I am lucky enough to often be able to buy vegetables that have only been harvested a few hours ago, I'm convinced that they often have a better flavour than those from the supermarkets that have been hanging around for several days.

1:31AM PST on Nov 20, 2013

Thank you :)

12:39PM PDT on Sep 1, 2013

Thanks

4:37PM PST on Dec 31, 2012

Hadn't heard of kale before, but will be trying it. Thanks for the recipes :)

3:41AM PDT on Oct 8, 2012

on the "Kale, Mushroom and Cream Cheese Scramble" in the list of ingredients you seem to have left out the cream cheese! Can you correcti?

3:40AM PDT on Oct 8, 2012

On the Kale, mushroom and cream cheese Scramble - on the list of ingredients you seem to have forgotten the cream cheese! Can you correct?

5:20PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

I'm growing kale for the first time this year. The plants need to be thinned, and I'm wondering in anyone knows....are there any outer type of leaf on the plant that you don't eat??
Thanks to anyone who can help :)

5:05PM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

Love the recipes! I used to hate the time it took to cut the ribs out of the kale until I tried grabbing the bottom of the stem with one hand and taking the leaf off by sliding the other hand up the stem. The stem breaks off where it starts to get tender. Easy and super fast!

12:20PM PST on Feb 21, 2012

how to cook very simple without add ok thanks let me know stingray

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Good advice. Thank you.

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